A weekend trip we’d planned for weeks,

a rare moment

we both had time for.

And you had built it up,

a tower of blocks,

each an expectation bound to fall,

and I was not exactly

the fullest bag of fun that weekend.

You see, I’d noticed

those changes in myself,

that would later create so much trouble,

the strands of hair

that fell so freely now,

the new impatience,

restlessness at the end of another year.

My porcupine heart,

your bubble of expectation,

weren’t they going to collide?

And it was something so small

that lit it.

How your sweet face burst,

your body clenched to a fist,

your mind made up to go home,

and a whole day swallowed

in your raging hurt.

You stayed but,

was it the day

something unravelled from us?

The veins of our lives

wound so tightly about us

were perhaps bound to fray.

But this was always your way,

to severe the strands,

only to retie them

just the way you wanted

to fit the wild seasons of your heart.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014.


The trouble started in Teramachi.

I dragged you through this arcade

of udon shops and pachinko parlours,

looking for a way, an exit,

to prevent the lid from flying off

your bubbling over mood.

You were tired or bored,

or you wanted an ice cream,

or should I have carried you?

You were like this in the late afternoons,

both infuriating and endearing,

a sour candy

that turns sweet in the end.

Your little summer tantrums,

your pouting, your huffing,

and the way I had to drag you

as the day gulped up

your half cup of patience,

I guess I didn’t know it then,

how being that infernal little girl

was your way of showing

your deepest need for me.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014


I’ve traced my way back

to Shoren’in temple

on a pilgrimage

to the places we’ve touched.

Here, you were

all the full moods of the day.

You left your ink wash marks,

your bright and dark strokes

in these narrow wooden streets,

the way passing rainstorms do.

But by the time we reached

this garden of cool moss

and whispering stone,

we were both calm.

After the squalls of love,

these soft moments with you,

in which you were more receptive

than dark inviting ponds,

these were the moments

I slaked my thirst in you,

these lulls between

your gorgeous summer storms.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014